L202 7236 LITERARY INTERPRETATION
PREREQUISITE: Completion of the English Composition requirement.
Open to majors and declared minors only.
1:00p-2:15p TR (25 students) 3 cr. A&H. IW.
This course teaches the fundamentals of literary analysis as it focuses on a range of genres (poetry, prose poetry, novels, short stories, and drama). Our examination of different genres will be shaped around four units: 1) poetry and prose poetry; 2) drama about poetry; 3) novels about drama; and 4) short stories and metanarrative. In the first unit, we will begin with a compilation entitled “Great American Prose Poems” and then move to a study of the drama of poetry itself through a focus on the work of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes and their vexed relationship. Our second unit “Drama about Poetry” will pivot on Margaret Edson’s representation of the study of poetry in her play Wit. The turn of the century text Sister Carrie will be our bridge to the novel genre as we consider Dreiser’s depiction of drama and the performativity of gender. The novel Sister Carrie grew out of Dreiser’s experience as a journalist. Questions about journalism and literature will be a smooth segue to our next destination in this “novels about drama” section. We will move from Dreiser to a contemporary writer’s riff on journalism versus literature and his rewriting of Shakespeare’s play The Tempest. This experimentation with form in this contemporary novel Philadelphia Fire (1990) will also raise many questions about differences and similarities between short stories, poetry, and novels. The use of a narrator who struggles to be an accurate reporter will lead us to our final analysis of the short story cycle Winesburg, Ohio, with the young reporter George Willard.
During this intensive writing course, you will write a total of twenty pages. There will be weekly reading quizzes and a final exam.